Writing to the wrong directory

Darxus at chaosreigns.com Darxus at chaosreigns.com
Mon Nov 29 12:11:57 MST 2010

I expect this is user error, but I thought I'd post in case anyone else is
feeling a similar sense of losing their mind.  

I have a root cron job:

  0 3 * * * rsync -Hva --stats --del ... / /media/2tb/bak/dancer-`date +\%F`/

"..." represents 4 --link-dest's and 22 --exclude's (including /media/).

So last night, / should have been copied to

Instead, when I checked on my backups this morning, instead of
/media/2tb/bak/dancer-2010-11-29/, / had been copied to /media/2tb/.
The differences corresponded exactly to the --excludes.  There was no
/media/2tb/dev/, and /media/2tb/tmp/ contained what it had the previous
day, not the same as /tmp/.

And of course, due to the --del, it deleted everything else I had in
/media/2tb/.  I have since removed the --del, since it was there for
reasons no longer relevant.

/media/2tb is, as you might imagine, a mount point for a 2tb hard drive.

The only way I can imagine this happening is if
/media/2tb/bak/dancer-2010-11-29/ were a simlink to /media/2tb/.  Which is

Or I guess I could have run it from the command line, but:

darxus at dancer:~$ history | grep rsync
 3471  man rsync
 4997  history | grep rsync | less
 4999  history | grep "sudo.*rsync"
 5004  history | grep rsync
darxus at dancer:~$

root's history contains rsync commands with the targets:
/media/2tb/bak/dancer-`date +%F`/
/media/2tb/bak/dancer-`date +%F`/

I did verify the copy of / in /media/2tb/ contained an update to a file I
made just last night.  

Since I used the -a flag to rsync, I don't think it's possible to verify
the copy happened around the time of the cron job.

Any other ideas?  Other than I or someone else, unknown to me, maliciously
kicked off this rsync, and then removed the evidence?

"I don't want people who want to dance, I want people who have to dance."
--George Balanchine

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